Starling Marte’s Debut Powers Pirates Past Astros
I know I’m late to the party but the Erie Seawolves game went into 15 innings with a nice rain delay in the 12th, so I completely missed all of the game. But all you really need to know is that the Pirates took care of business by defeating the Astros 5-3 behind the performances of Starling Marte and A.J. Burnett. The pitcher went 7 1/3 innings and had a two hitter going before Houston hit two homers to pull closer. Once again, the Pirates bullpen was stellar and Joel Hanrahan picked up another save. Burnett has already surpassed his win total from last year and is quietly having the best year of his career with the Pirates. Who would’ve guessed that.
But the story of the night was Starling Marte. I was having a fun Twitter conversation with a friend with school and we botha greed the Pirates needed anther bat since Presley wasn’t working out at the top of the order as much as we would’ve liked. However, I assumed that with the call up of Marte, the Pirates had made the decision that overpaying for Chase Headley, Shane Victorino, or Hunter Pence was not worth the price of long term Pirates’ prospects. Therefore, Huntington decided to add a bat from within, and call up the biggest one in the Pirates system in Marte. Marte’s MLB debut made Huntington look like a genius. Marte mashed the first pitch he saw into the left center power alley to put the Pirates up 1-0. The Bucs thrived off that energy and put up two more in the inning thanks to Garrett Jones and a two run homer which was followed up in the second by a two RBI hit from Clint Barmes (playing against his old team).
So Marte has impressed all in day one. Starling’s a streaky, free swinging hitter so let’s see how he does when pitchers start throwing him sliders that break away from him or curveballs in the dirt. If he can stay hot through September, then the Pirates may have just solidified their lineup for a playoff run. I’m liking where this is going.